Budapest: Modern, delicious and charming

Dr. Akos Niklai has developed, influenced and shaped the Hungarian tourism industry for decades. He is the past President of the Board of Directors of the Hungarian National Tourist Office and the Past Chair of the Board of the Budapest Business School.

Niklai has been associated with Marriott and Intercontinental Hotels and the Restaurant Gundel and the former Executive Director of Hotels and Catering Division for Ansett Australia Airlines Group, the Managing Director of the Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia and the assistant General Manager/Director for Ansett Australia Airlines.

Currently he is a Visiting Professor at Hungarian universities, hotel management schools and a keynote speaker at EU tourism related forums. In addition, he is the Founding Co-Chair of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in Hungary, Vice President of HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes in Europe) and Chair of HOTREC’S Quality Board. He is also the Vice President of Business Hungary (MGYOSZ) and the Managing Director of Karpatia Hospitality Company in Budapest. Niklai holds prominent positions on the boards of EU-based organizations that focus on travel and is a Consultant in the hotel, tourism and airlines industry.

Historical Dining

When Niklai is not teaching students about the hotel, travel and tourism industry or consulting with his international clients, he owns and operates one of the very best restaurants in Budapest. Every visitor to this elegant city should arrange for a dining experience at the Karpatia Restaurant located in downtown Budapest on Ferenciek Square (on the Pest – side; very close to the Central Market and Elizabeth Bridge). This restaurant is one of the city’s oldest and grandest dining spots and advance reservations have been required ever since it opened in 1877. Stop by for lunch and dinner for gourmet dining as well as an introduction to a romantic Hungarian period.

Make sure to look at the hand-painted and gilded walls and original 1920s artwork. Reserve a table near the Gypsy music for a memorable evening. Dining recommendations include Hungarian goose foie gras, potato cream soup with curry and apple chips, Hortobagy – meat filled pancakes with a paprika sauce or a saddle of lamb, coated with parmesan cheese and sesame seeds and covered with honey carrots and parsley potatoes.

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Hungarian Options

This is a world class destination that is just being “discovered” by Americans; most tourists are from Germany, Austria, Romania, Italy and the Czech Republic (2012). For a small country, it is one of the oldest in Europe.

Located in the middle of the Central European continent, Budapest is one of the world’s most outstanding cities and is frequently identified as the “Pearl of the Danube.” Budapest was originally three separate locales, Buda, Pest and Obuda. In 1873 they were combined to form a single capital spanning both sides of the Danube River. Buda is hilly and the best location to visit Gothic buildings and cobbled street which hark back to the Middle Ages. Pest is considered the commercial center and shopping streets are complete with high-fashion retail opportunities, sophisticated and stylish cafes and restaurants, museums, parks and hotels. There are seven roads and two rail bridges that cross the Danube and connect the districts.

For exploring the outdoors, Hungary offers the Balaton, Central Europe’s largest fresh water lake and the therapeutic mineral springs are frequented by Russian visitors. Historians find this destination of great interest as 2000-year-old Roman ruins can be found near 400-year old Turkish monuments.

Retail therapy is available on Vaci Street where shopping is an art form. As a pedestrian street with outdoor cafes, high-fashion shops can be explored and Hungarian trend setters can be watched while simultaneously sipping a glass of Hungarian Tokaji wine or an expresso. For visitors with a preference for antiques the places to start are Falk Miksa Street and the Ecseri Flea Market.

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